After undergoing oral surgery, you will most likely need to take it easy for at least a few days in order to recover fully. Depending on the type of procedure you had, you may need to eat a soft food diet, ice your surgical site to reduce swelling and discomfort or follow other specific instructions we give you. One of the most important things you should do while recovering from oral surgery is to look out for the following signs of a potential infection.
Bleeding After 24 Hours
It is normal to experience some bleeding after undergoing oral surgery. During the first few hours after surgery, you can manage this bleeding by pressing gauze against the surgical site. Your blood should clot after a few hours, but you may have a mixture of blood and saliva coming out of the surgical site for up to 24 hours. If you have persistent bleeding that lasts longer than 24 hours, this could be a sign of an infected surgical site.
Pain That Will Not Go Away
We will let you know what to expect in terms of discomfort when we give you your recovery instructions. We may prescribe pain medication or suggest using over-the-counter painkillers along with ice to relieve any post-surgical discomfort. However, if you are experiencing severe, throbbing or stabbing pain near the surgical site, this is not normal. Severe pain that is not relieved by taking pain medication could indicate an infection.
Some facial swelling is normal after oral surgery. The amount of swelling you can expect will vary depending on the type of procedure you had, but usually, it should resolve within the first day or two after your procedure. If you have swelling near the surgical site that lasts longer than a few days or continues to get worse, or if you notice that your neck, gums, or lymph nodes are swollen as well, this could be a sign of a serious infection.
A fever following any type of surgery, including oral surgery, is often a sign of infection. Your body heats up in an attempt to kill the infection, resulting in a fever. Fever on its own or accompanied by chills, dizziness, or difficulty breathing could mean that your infection is spreading and you need to seek emergency treatment right away.
If you are exhibiting any of the above symptoms after undergoing oral surgery, even if you otherwise feel normal, please call our office immediately.